Written by Carole Martin
Behind every interview question there is a concern or another question. Your job is to process the question thinking about what the interviewer’s concern might be. In other words, why is the interviewer asking you this question?
Q#1 – How long have you been looking for a job? (Concern – is there something wrong with you that other employers have picked up?)
A#1 – “After I was laid off from my last job, I took the opportunity to take some time out to examine my career goals and where I was going with my life. I have just begun my search in the last few weeks. I have a definite goal in mind and have been selective about the positions I consider. Your company and this position are of great interest to me.”
Q#2 – How did you prepare for this interview? (Concern – are you interested enough to do some research, or are you going to “wing it”?)
A#2 – “When I found this position posted on the internet (monster. com) I was immediately interested. I checked out the company website and mission statement, looked at the bios of company founders and executives, and was impressed. Once I had the interview appointment, I talked with friends and acquaintances in the industry. And, I’m sure I’ll find out a lot more in today’s meetings.”
Q#3 – What is your salary expectation for this job? (Concern – Can we afford you? Can we get you for less than budgeted?)
A#3 – “I’ll need more information about the job and the responsibilities involved before we can begin to discuss salary. Can you give me an idea of the range budgeted for this position?”
Q#4 – How do you keep current and informed about your job and the industries that you have worked in? (Concern – Once you get the job do you continue to learn and grow – stay challenged and motivated?)
A#4 – “I
pride myself on my ability to stay on top of what is happening in my industry. I do a lot of reading – the business section of the newspapers and magazines. I belong to a couple of professional organizations and network with colleagues at the meetings. I take classes and seminars whenever they are of interest, or offer new information or technology.”
Q#5 – Tell me about a time when you had to plan and coordinate a project from start to finish. (Concern – behavioral questions – seeking an example of specific past behavior)
A#5 – ” I headed up a project which involved customer service personnel and technicians. I organized a meeting to get everyone together to brainstorm and get his or her input. From this meeting I drew up a plan, taking the best of the ideas. I organized teams, balancing the mixture of technical and non-technical people. We had a deadline to meet, so I did periodic checks with the teams. After three weeks, we were exceeding expectations, and were able to begin implementation of the plan. It was a great team effort, and a big success. I was commended by management for my leadership, but I was most proud of the team spirit and cooperation which it took to pull it off.”
Q#6 – What kinds of people do you have difficulties working with? (Concern – ability to be flexible and work in a diverse environment?)
A#6 – “In my last three jobs I have worked with men and women from very diverse backgrounds and cultures. The only time I had difficulty was with people who were dishonest about work issues. I worked with one woman who was taking credit for work that her team accomplished. I had an opportunity to talk with her one day and explained how she was affecting the morale.